Last spring, I hit a record number on the scale (not in a good way) and more importantly for the first time in my life, I felt truly uncomfortable in my own body. I stopped buying clothes, I didn’t like anything I owned, and I just plain didn’t feel great. I went to the doctors, stepped on the scale and realized over the past four years I’d put on 30 pounds. It was relationship weight, breakup weight, travel weight, another excuse weight. There were so many excuses that just kept adding up. But thankfully, I finally got the motivation to kick myself back into gear.
When summer rolled around I started a new job and felt the change in my routines was a perfect time to try my first diet. Yes, a diet. Since as much as I tried to convince myself that I still had my twenty-something athlete’s metabolism and all I had to do was work out a little more, do a little more cardio, and the weight would go away.
But that’s not how it works. Exercise is important for overall health but if you want to lose weight you have to change how you eat. And I finally listened. So in July, I kicked off a new diet and a lifestyle change and I lost 30 pounds as a result. And I did it without being miserable and feeling like I was giving up all the things I love. Now my focus is on keeping them off.
So how did I do it and how do I plan to keep it off? And will it work for you?
I Changed How I Thought About Good v. Bad Food
I don’t believe there is one right diet for everyone but I found one that was right for me: Keto. More than anything it made me rethink what is good and bad for your body. Keto is based on the concept that if you starve your body of carbs your body will actually start using fat cells as an energy source.
I’d spent my life being told that fat is bad and it’s all about those good carbs. Keto swapped this approach, while carbs aren’t evil, they will stop your body from losing the fat you’ve put on. And fats are great energy sources.
While I don’t plan to always eat a super low carb, high-fat diet. It made me realize how much of my plate was made out of carbs and how little nutrients they gave me. I’m not an athlete in high need of energy, I can get loads of energy from other sources of food as well.
I Cut Out Almost ALL Carbs To Lose
I lost 30 pounds by cutting down my carbs to 20 to 30 grams a day. That means not just cutting out the pasta, potatoes, rice, and bread but also the high carb fruits and vegetables. Basically, I ate loads of veggies that grow above ground, about the same amount of protein, and upped the fats I ate.
For me, a diet where I can still eat avocados, cheese, bacon, and have a little wine worked for me. While I love carbs I learned that I didn’t need them and that they are meant to be a treat NOT a staple.
Whether it was eating chicken caesar salads or roasted chicken and veggies in a creamy sauce, I walked away satisfied from just about every meal I ate.
If you think this could be the diet for you a few sources to help me learn about it I loved are the Keto Adapted, I Breathe I’m Hungry, and Peace Love and Low Carbs. Plus, if you need recipes check out my Keto Pinterest Board.
My Network Supported Me, Including An Unofficial Diet Buddy
Part of why this diet worked was that a good friend talked me into it. On top of that, I just happened to have a bunch of girlfriends who were taking their health seriously. When I ate keto through an entire bachelorette weekend my friends didn’t try and tempt me, instead, they encouraged me. Dieting is one of those things that is great to do together.
Having a friend I could text whenever I was excited or miserable about the diet is a bit part of how I lost 30 pounds.
When I started the diet, I’ll be honest, I wanted to talk about it a lot. And while I knew that wasn’t for everyone, it was important to have other people in my life that were interested in talking about it as well. I actually was surprised how many people were interested in learning about the diet or comparing notes on different approaches.
Whoever it is, and whether or not they do it with you, it’s important to have a support system. Someone you can text with your struggles and your successes.
I Let Myself Cheat For Special Occasions
How did I stick to my diet? It was by not absolutely depriving myself. I did stick to the keto diet hardcore for the first three months but after that, I let myself cheap but only for good reasons. Mostly that was when I was traveling.
I didn’t want to start giving up one of my loves in life, exploring good food when I travel. So I didn’t. I’d eat healthy at home and when I was visiting places I’ve been before but when I was visiting a new city like Vancouver or Boston I enjoyed the cuisines.
Then, as soon as I was back home I kicked back into the diet and stuck to it. When I came back I saw the results that I’d go up a little when I ate more carbs and I’d see it go back down when I ate Keto. The consistent results helped me get back on track when I needed to. But the cheating made sure I wasn’t missing out on life. And even with cheating from time to time I lost 30 pounds.
I’m Reshaping My Plate for the Long Run
Now that I’ve dieted, what does that look like for maintaining? Eating under 30 grams of carbs a day is restricting. It’s also something that is good for weight loss and not necessarily for long-term health. As mentioned above, my dieting made me change how I think about food and mainly about carbs.
I used to have half my plate covered with carbs, if not more! It was something that I now look back at and am shocked by. So I’m changing the shape of my plate.
Instead, I’m working on having half my plate covered in vegetables. Then adding in some proteins, and little fats, and maybe, just maybe some carbs; and when I do focusing on whole grains. This has involved not keeping carbs or sweets in the house to stop the temptations.
And this doesn’t mean I won’t eat a bowl of pasta again, but it’s more likely I’ll sub in that spaghetti squash, and only one or two meals a week eat more than a few carbs.
The more I cook at home the better this works too. I can feed myself very well without carbs when I’m the chef, but it’s a little harder to avoid eating out. This is a little more work but at the same time, it’s saving me money since I’d rather eat in.
I Recommitted To An Exercise I Love
I started doing Pilates five years ago. I’ve been rather consistent about it, but I kept thinking I needed to add a couple days of cardio on top of it to make those pounds drop. When I changed my diet I realized that it was more important to get in the workouts I love instead of just trying a new cardio plan I wouldn’t actually commit to.
So last year I recommitted to Pilates. Any month I was in town regularly I got the unlimited plan at my amazing Pilates studio. I can tell you it’s not cheap, but that extra cost holds me accountable to go. I’ve been averaging five days a week and I’m feeling stronger, more flexible, and just plain better.
While I’m not looking like I did when I was a twenty-year-old varsity athlete I feel comfortable in my own skin, healthy, and strong. It’s been a combination of committing to changing how I eat and recommitting to a workout I love.
I Lost 30 Pounds On A Diet & Found A Lifestyle Change
While I am sure over the years there will be ups and downs in my weight this experience of having lost 30 pounds in the past six months has helped me realize this is something I can do and I can control. On top of that, I can do it without sacrificing the things I enjoy in life.
Instead, it’s about being smart. It’s about thinking of things as treats. It’s about getting flavors out of the foods that are actually good for you. It’s about feeling healthy on a holistic level.
I’m proud to say I lost 30 pounds by choosing myself, by sticking to what I set in front of myself, and that I plan on keeping it off!